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The seven best DIY Halloween costumes you can do on a budget

By Alaina Burris
On October 5, 2019

Photo Illustration by Alaina Burris using

Halloween is just around the corner and, for the child in some of us, finding a costume is a priority. However, have you seen the going rate for a simple cape at a costume store? If you haven’t, I can promise you it’s too expensive. 

So what should you do if you want to dress up and can’t exactly afford a $40 cape? The answer is simple: make one  yourself. These days, you can make a costume out of anything, kind of like how you used to throw a white sheet over yourself and say you were a ghost. But better. 

Here are the top seven things that you can dress up as this Halloween for little-to-no cost (it will only be no cost if you own the items already listed, sorry). 

  1. Cowboy/Cowgirl/Country Bumpkin
    This costume is a piece of cake. Once you have a flannel, a pair of jeans (ripped jeans would be perfect) and a pair of boots, you’re all set. For that extra flare, you can add a cowboy hat. Girls, I recommend some French braids to really pull off the facade. This costume also works as a lumberjack, if that’s more your style.  

  2. Nerd
    This is a very stereotypical costume, but most costumes are. To pull off a nerd costume, you should get some glasses (bonus points if you already wear glasses), wrap some duct-tape around the nose piece and the first part of this costume is complete. For the rest, a button up shirt, a pair of jeans with each pant leg rolled to a different length and a pair of converse with some high socks. Carry around your textbooks for added emphasis. 

  3. Minion
    Yes, Despicable Me has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a minion. This costume is a simple one: a yellow jacket, a pair of overalls and some safety goggles. If you want to go all out, you can get an iron-on patch for the overalls to make it look like you’re truly one of Gru’s little yellow men. 

  4. Mean Girls: She doesn’t even go here!
    This costume is super easy. All you need is a purple/blue hoodie, black sunglasses and a piece of paper that says, “She doesn’t even go here!” Then you walk around with your hood up, holding the sign up. If they don’t get the reference, that’s so not fetch.  

  5. The Bachelor/Bachelorette
    This year, like any year, for the ABC franchise has been a whirlwind. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t turn it into a Halloween costume. How do you turn a TV show into a costume? Well, in this case, you put on a fancy outfit (suit, dress, whatever you choose) and carry around a bouquet of roses. Bonus points if you ask random people if they’ll accept your rose. 

  6. Tourist
    Being a tourist is a pretty cliche costume, but it’s a simple one. What you need to be a tourist is simple: a bucket hat, a Hawaiian shirt, a disposable camera and a fanny pack. You can always put your own spin on it, too. Some people put some sunscreen on their noses without blending it in, others wear khakis to complete their look. 

  7. The candy man
    Now, this costume is pretty simple. Just put on literally anything-- t-shirt, shorts, whatever you want. Get a bowl, fill it with candy, tape a sign to it that says, “Say trick-or-treat!” and when someone does, hand them a piece of candy.

These are some pretty easy costumes to pull off and they shouldn’t cost anyone too much money. Halloween isn’t that far off and, if you’re costuming on a budget, one of these costumes might be the one for you. Even better is you can find almost everything for these costumes at a thrift store! 


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